Here is the route we took:
We drove from Houston to Dallas where we spent a few nights with my family before setting off on this crazy journey. Our first stop was Colorado Springs to hang out with Charles' older brother Andrew and his wife Rachel and our niece Brittany. A few days later we drove on to Denver for a few days we have several friends in Denver so we spent one night with the Barrows and one night with Charles' friend Jeff. Next we drove to Jackson Wyoming and spent time exploring Teton National Park and Yellowstone. We spent one night in West Yellowstone and one night in Bozeman Montana, which allowed us about 3 full days in Yellowstone - we will definitely be going back one day! From Yellowstone we headed north to Glacier National Park, we stayed in Hungry Horse Montana and enjoyed exploring Glacier for a few days. We continued north into Canada from there stopping for a few days in Banff and exploring the Banff/Lake Louise area. Then we drove west toward Vancouver. In Vancouver we met up with our friend Jason and watched Real Salt Lake play the Whitecaps and also celebrated my 33rd birthday. From Vancouver we drove south to Seattle and spent a few days with our friends Ali and Will, so much fun! We continued south stopping in Salem, Eugene, and Takilma Oregon - again staying with family friends Sara and her sister Susan. As we made our way into California we were overwhelmed by the beauty of the redwoods and the crashing of the beautiful Pacific against jagged cliffs. We spent one night in Fort Bragg before making it to Santa Cruz. Our time in Santa Cruz was spent with the Smith and Sutton families and we were joined by Charles younger brother Paul and his wife Meredith. Paul and Meredith joined us in the car to drive from Santa Cruz to Los Angeles. We stopped in Carmel and spent a night in Santa Barbara before meeting up with Charles' parents and his cousins for a family wedding. Our last stop on this first portion of our trip was in L.A. with our friends Vicky and Charley who kept us entertained before we embarked on our journey down under.
We drove a campervan through New Zealand for three weeks. We started in Auckland and had a few days there to acclimate before picking up our campervan. Our first stop in the camper was a small town called Matamata near Hobbiton. Next we drove to Rotorua for a few days parked along the shores of Blue Lake. We had a tough decision to make with where to go next because there is so much to do in New Zealand, but we chose the East Cape. We spent the night in a small town called Te Kaha, it was beautiful! We made our way around the cape and ended up in Gisborne just at night fall. We stayed with our wonderful friends Nick and Pauline in Gisborne for a few days, it was amazing. We made our way towards Wellngton with a stop in Napier to break up the journey. We really enjoyed our few days in windy Wellington, especially the All Blacks Game. We then crossed over to the South Island where we drove from Picton to Blenheim. We spent several nights in Blenheim in the Marlborough region - we loved wine country. From there we made our way down the coast stopping in Kaikoura, Christchurch, Timaru and Dunedin. We debated for a few days whether we should go down to Bluff on the tip of the South Island or straight over to Queensland. We ran into some travelers who told us about road closings due to snow in the mountains so we headed to Bluff and Invercargill. The last week of our trip we made our way to Te Anau then Queenstown then on to Lake Tekapo before it was time to bid farewell to New Zealand. We were sad to leave, but we were excited about our short stop in Fiji on the way home to celebrate Charles' 40th birthday. We arrived back in L.A. and had a great dinner with Vicky and Charley before making our to New Orleans for a wedding.
We traveled by planes, trains, buses, boats, rickshaw, tuk tuk, and car through the following amazing destinations:
Italy - Milan, Rome, Florence, Venice
Czech Republic - Prague
Turkey - Istanbul
Israel - Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Dead Sea, Eilat
Jordan - Aqaba, Petra, Amman
India - Delhi, Jaipur, Agra
Maldives - Bandos Island
Sri Lanka - Yala National Park, Galle, Colombo
Thailand - Bangkok
Cambodia - Siem Reap, Phnom Penh
Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa
South Korea - Seoul, DMZ
We returned from our circumnavigation of the globe just in time for Christmas. We spent Christmas in Dallas with my family where we picked up our dog and our car and then headed to Charles' parents in Florida. After a little over a week in Sarasota it was time to go meet our new nephew in Richmond Virginia. We spent a few weeks there helping Charles' brother Paula and his wife Meredith with stuff around the house while they adjusted to being new parents. On our way back to Houston we stopped in Atlanta for a job fair and stayed with our good friends the Wildmans! We had one more stop on our way back to Houston - Mardi Gras in New Orleans, what a way to end this amazing journey.
View The Watsons trip around the world in a larger map
Our Packing List:
You might be wondering how you pack for a trip like this? Let me just say it has not been easy process, but with lots of research here is what we ended up with.
- Backpack - Osprey Porter 65 Travel Pack
- Daypack - Osprey Daylite (attaches to the backpack)
- Art supplies - Timbuk2 Catapult (for brushes, paints, etc)
- Eagle Creek Pack-It cubes size medium and large
- Eagle Creek Pack-It sac size medium
- Backpack - Deuter Act Lite 45+10
- Eagle Creek Pack-It cubes size medium and large **these things are amazing!!
- Eagle Creek Pack-It sac size medium **I'll say it again - amazing!
- Eagle Creek Pack It Cube Black (Google Affiliate Ad)
- We each took 2 long sleeved shirts and 2 short sleeved shirts - dry fit or quick drying material. (I recommend grey or black or khaki because things get dingy quickly on the road)
- We each took a pair of quick dry pants. Mine were ExOfficio® Nomad™ Roll-Up Women's Pants - Slate - 10 (Google Affiliate Ad). Charles chose a pair of North Face.
- We each took a pair of quick dry shorts as well.
- I took a black skirt and two workout tanks from Athleta as well.
- I also took three scarves to liven up my grey and black shirts **I highly recommend using scarves to vary your outfit on the road they are lightweight and serve many purposes.
- Asus Eee PC 1015 **This was an item we could not have done without.
- Canon 50D, 50mm lens and zoom lens
- Sony Cybershot waterproof
- Kindle Fire (Charles)
- Nook (Shelley)
- Veho Capsule speaker **used this tons
- iphone - we each took our iphones and left them on airplane mode and used them with wifi when available
- headphone splitter and 2 sets of earbuds
- Bag with chargers, usb cords, etc.
- Travel organizer wallet - big enough to hold passports and room for money cards etc. (mine was by Ellington)
- Masterlock adjustable cable lock
- 4 Masterlock TSA luggage locks
- 2 Travel plug adapters
- 1 Mini power strip **definitely a necessity
- 2 Petzl Tikkina Headlamps
- 2 Cocoon cotton-poly travel sheets **waste of space, if I could do it again I wouldn't bother with these
- Steripen Classic Water Purifier **used and worked wonderfully
- Extra batteries (AA and AAA)
- Gruntline utility cord and clothesline **awesome for laundry in the hotel bathroom
- Eye sleep masks
- Duct Tape **we used it to tape cracks in the windows to keep mosquitos out
- ziplock bags - gallon and quart sized
- bug spray with high deet percentage
- laundry soap
First Aid and Medications:
- blister ampoules
- alcohol swabs
- hydrocortisone cream
- wet wipes
- hand sanitizer
- allergy medicine
- Ciprofloxacin (for stomach problems)
- Azithromycin (for sinus problems)
- Malarone (for Malaria prevention)
- nail clippers
- face wash
- we will pick up some travel size shampoo, conditioner, and body wash from hotels early in our trip
- face sunscreen
- toothbrushes and toothpaste
- Shelley - makeup (powder, blush, mascara, eyeshadow quad) and hair bands